Gardner Bible College
- Usage: 1980 - 2011
- Usage: 1933 - 1979
The Alberta Bible Institute (ABI) was founded in 1933 by act of the General Assembly of the Western Canadian Church of God. Founder Harry C. Gardner wanted to create a Bible school in Canada so that Church of God members in western Canada would not have to travel to the Anderson School of Theology in the Church of God headquarters of Anderson, Indiana.
ABI was first housed in the Mission of the Open Door in Edmonton, which was operated by Sarah Monroe. Gardner, Monroe, and Walker Wright were the first faculty members. The school moved to the basement of the Edmonton Church of God building in 1934 before moving to Ferintosh, Alberta at the end of that year. In 1935, the school found more permanent property in Camrose and opened there for the 1935-1936 school year.
In 1937, ABI began broadcasting “The ABI Gospel Hour” as an outreach tool. The show was aired on several radio stations and lasted until 1956. Because of such efforts and the continued growth of ABI, Camrose came to be the hub of Church of God activity in western Canada.
ABI opened an accredited high school to supplement its post-secondary courses in 1949, but this initiative was phased out in 1957 due to decreased enrolment and lack of resources. Other initiatives were more successful, however, such as the development of transfer agreements with Warner Pacific College, Azusa University, and the Anderson School of Theology; the development of the Bachelor of Theology program in 1953; and a 1968 agreement with Camrose Lutheran College (which would eventually become the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta) for ABI students to take liberal arts classes.
In 1980, the name of the school was changed to Gardner Bible College to indicate that the institution was not just for Albertan students and to honour the school’s founder. In the following decades, education programs expanded to include Early Childhood Development, Child and Youth Care, and Religious Education degrees or diplomas. In 1993, the school again changed its name to Gardner College.
As a Bible school, Gardner College was not accredited by the Government of Alberta but was licensed by Alberta Education through the Private Colleges Branch for the Early Childhood Development Program.
After years of declining enrolment, accumulated debt, and increasing costs, Gardner College was officially closed by its board of trustees in 2011.
Presidents of ABI/Gardner:
H.C. Gardner: 1933-1953, 1957-1961 Gordon Schieck: 1953-1955 (interim), 1968-1974, 1975-1977 (interim) Thomas Hall: 1955-1957 Milton Chugg: 1962-1965 Albert Irving: 1965-1966 Hugh Wolkow: 1966-1967 David Davis: 1974-1975 Robert Hazen: 1977-1989 Bruce Kelly: 1989-2005 John Howard: 2005-2011
Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:
Miscellaneous materials on the history of Alberta Bible Institute
Yearbooks belonging to the Alberta Bible Institute from the years 1951-1970. The title of the yearbook is called "The Frontiersman." There are also two class photos in the collection.
Materials relating to Dr. Edwards speaking at Gardner College.